The survival characteristics of nine different mutants of Escherichia coli bacteria have been studied under oxic and anoxic conditions and in the presence of a wide range of concentrations of a typical nitroxyl radiosensitizer (NPPN) and a typical electron affinic radiosensitizer (PNAP). The data confirm that these two sensitizers operate by different and independent mechanisms in bacteria. Nitroxyl sensitization correlates with the anoxic sensitivity of the bacteria whereas the effect of the electron affinic sensitizer correlates with the OER and oxic response of the bacteria. The two sensitizers are additive in their effects on the Rec A- mutant in contrast to oxygen/sensitizer combinations. It is concluded that PNAP can only mimic one of the sensitizing effects of oxygen and that nitroxyl sensitization is largely unrelated to oxygen sensitization.

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